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Feces-Clogged Shore Shows Africa Infrastructure Failings

Posted by Business in Ghana on August 19, 2014

By Pauline Bax

A garbage collection bicycle sits with the slogan “Keep Ghana clean” by an open sewer river. The World Bank will give Ghana $150 million in grants to improve access to potable water and basic toilets for the poorest residents of Accra, where most roads are lined with open drains and gutters that overflow during heavy rains.

Fredrik Sunesson had high hopes when the first tanker truck unloaded feces from some of Accra’s 4 million residents at his recycling plant in Ghana’s capital. Seventeen months later, those expectations have been dashed.

A combination of red tape and disputes over payments mean Sunesson’s Slamson Ghana Ltd. is running far below capacity, he says. Most of the 140 tankers dump the contents of Accra’s toilets each day into the Gulf of Guinea at a foul-smelling dune known as Lavender Hill. The lagoon nearby is so polluted that scientists says most life-forms can’t survive. The slum nearby has earned the nickname Sodom and Gomorrah.

“It’s a shame for everybody, most of all for the environment and the people of Accra,” Sunesson said. Read the rest of this entry »

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There Was Once A Country Called Ghana

Posted by Business in Ghana on August 19, 2014

By T. P. Manus Ulzen

Let’s call it like we see it. Ghana is a totally dysfunctional state. Once we stop denying the reality with thin – skinned defensiveness, we will come to an accurate diagnosis and have a decent chance of repairing the damage we have done to our country. We should do this because our youth will have no future and the country will implode if we don’t. We owe it to so many before us, who toiled honestly and endlessly for the success of this human development enterprise called Ghana. We have squandered so many proverbial goal chances, the latest being oil, our newest resource. We have also failed to progress beyond simply being an exporter of raw materials.

Who are the captains of industry in Ghana today? They are the people the government should be consulting with while they contemplate another tango with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF, will recommend what we know we should have done long ago but have not had the political will to do. We must slash the public sector significantly but not as a singular act. This must be accompanied by a real change in fiscal attitude untainted by political imperatives. The application of controls to minimize losses to corruption coupled with comprehensive and long-term support for entrepreneurially based options for workers in the agricultural, service, IT and other sectors is critical. Read the rest of this entry »

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World Cup Diary 8

Posted by Business in Ghana on June 29, 2014

From Kwasi Gyan Appenteng

The Mega-shambles in Brazil

As it was in the beginning, so it ended. There was a bit of brilliant football in between but who will remember that? Ghana in Brazil 2014 was a total shambles which we probably would wish to forget quickly. Unfortunately, and for completely wrong reasons not only will this mess stay long in our memory, it will cast a shadow on our sporting performances past and present. Let us look at the evidence.

In Ghana, we quickly find scapegoats for our failings and the culprit this time is our age old friend and enemy, money, described as the root of all evil. Mr. Kwasi Nyantakyi, the man who in any other country would have fallen on his sword has fingered money as the enemy within. It is not the last time money would get a bad press but on this occasion, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, may I plead that planning and not money should be in the dock.

Ghana qualified brilliantly doling out a magnificent victory over Egypt in Kumasi before finishing the job in Cairo. Between the qualification and the start of the tournament was sufficient time for planning. Not Ghana; we were not sure about anything including the final squad, friendly matches, money and of course officials and spectators. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ghana’s Black Stars: When football imitates life.

Posted by Business in Ghana on June 28, 2014

By Dr. T. P. Manus Ulzen, tulzen@yahoo.com

Our three matches have been renamed “should have,” could have” and “would have.” How could such a young, talented and the most admired team in all of Brazil have fallen so short of its goal?
We had barely finished bantering with the American fans close by, after our rendition of their national anthem. Before we could figure out which side was up or adjust to our seats, it was the debacle of Feyenoord Stadium all over again, only this time, in 34 seconds not 4 minutes.
Did the team and technical staff learn anything from the friendly with the Netherlands leading up to the battle of Natal? This is the World Cup but more importantly, this is Ghana v USA. This World Cup rivalry was a tournament all on its own and all of Brazil and the whole wide world was waiting with great anticipation for David of Ghana to fire his slingshot to fell the Goliath that was the US of A. Read the rest of this entry »

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World Cup Diary 7

Posted by Business in Ghana on June 26, 2014

From Kwasi Gyan Appenteng

Faith versus realism in a high stakes game

I have been warned by my friends Akos and Yaa not to be pessimistic, or as they put it, “realistic”. Akos is insistent that this is not the time for realism. She even went as far as accuse me of mocking faith. What is my crime? It is like this: I believe that the Black Stars will probably play their final World Cup match today because …I do not believe that one point from two matches, and eventually four from three at the World Cup is good enough to take us into the knockout phase. I know it has been done before, but facing Portugal in this kind of situation must be sufficient grounds for dog-faced pessimism.

Let me explain this before I am sent to some kind of national inquisition that I don’t want the Black Stars to win. I want our team to win. There are many reasons for this. After rushing three million cedis by special arrangement to the players it would be such an anti-climax if they returned home by the same plane that flew in the money. I want to believe that the money would act as the spur to fire them to glory. But my main reason for wanting a Black Star win is to bring joy to the land.  Read the rest of this entry »

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World Cup Diary 6

Posted by Business in Ghana on June 24, 2014

From Kwasi Gyan Appenteng

Clutching at mathematical straws

One of the most widespread phobias suffered in Ghana is arithmophobia – the fear of numbers and arithmetic. There are some people who like me have been terrorized by maths since their primary school days when each school day started with “mental”, a quick-fire round of questions in arithmetic. In our case, our primary Class Six teacher, a tall gangly man used the “mental” as the pretext to beat us every morning. His trick was not to allow you time to think before bringing his long cane down on the poor pupil. Instead of producing a class full of enlightened kids the effect of this brutality was a class full of wailing children, many gnashing their teeth as well.

I mention this because suddenly even my arithmophobic friends, and there are a few, have all become ardent mathematicians. At the drop of a coin, or scoring of a goal, they can do the math and tell you how many points Ghana needs at every step in order to escape from the hermetic embrace of the Group of Death into the open spaces of World Cup football. Read the rest of this entry »

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World Cup Diary 4

Posted by Business in Ghana on June 21, 2014

From Kwasi Gyan Appenteng

LET US WAVE THE FLAG FOR VICTORY

………as Spain’s exit gives us hope

Spare a thought for Spain. The European and World champions are the first reigning kings of world football to go out of the tournament so ignominiously. They lost both their opening matches with a collection of seven balls from their own net. In some ways their two nil defeat to Chile which effectively sealed their exit warrant must be more painful than the earlier five goals to one drubbing at the hands of the Dutch. At least, there was light at the end of the tunnel after the first match; Wednesday’s defeat meant lights out for Spain whose King Juan Carlos signed his own abdication warrant earlier that day in the national Parliament in Madrid.

One almost feels Spain’s pain; almost, but not quite because by some strange logic, Spain’s loss gives Ghana a glimmer of hope. This is how the roundabout logic works: this World Cup has been full of surprises. Apart from the fall of Spain, Brazil’s lucky draw against Mexico and Australia’s valiant loss by 2-3 to the Netherlands are part of the narrative of surprise which is becoming a dominant motif of the tournament. Read the rest of this entry »

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World Cup Diary 3

Posted by Business in Ghana on June 18, 2014

From Kwasi Gyan Appenteng

25 million coaches go to work

This is the morning after the night before, my friend Yaa wrote on her Facebook wall; Ghana is not a happy place. We have not yet descended into the funk of 2010 after we were done in by the Hand of Devil, a la, Suarez, but this morning there are fewer flags and smiles in Accra. Ghana’s 25 million coaches have started work and the prevailing pre-breakfast opinion is that the real coach, Kwasi Appiah lost us the match.

Some say he should have started with Essien and Boateng because the presence of those two would intimidate the American players. Others say they coach had a goalkeeping dilemma because Kwarasey is not good at catching down balls while Dauda is afraid of high balls. It is too bad the rules of Association Football do not allow the use of two goalkeepers; ideally we would field the pair of them. Kwarasey to catch high balls while Dauda crouches low! Read the rest of this entry »

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World Cup Diary 2

Posted by Business in Ghana on June 11, 2014

From Kwasi Gyan Appenteng

The god of vengeance is a Costa Rican

On Saturday night I put the headline – the god of vengeance is a Costa Rican on my Facebook wall and within minutes people were “liking” it and passing comments by the dozen. Other ecstatic Ghanaians had expressed similar sentiments on social media and it was obvious that we could not contain our joy. And this was 72 hours before our own Black Stars first kickoff in Brazil. We were celebrating the defeat of Uruguay at the hands of Costa Rica when the pair met in their group’s opening game.

Geography is no longer an active subject in schools these days so I wonder whether most Ghanaians know where Costa Rica is in the world, but we don’t really care even if it is in outer space. We have adopted that Central American country and would be cheering its team on in this tournament. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Black Stars Of Africa Set To Shine In Brazil

Posted by Business in Ghana on June 4, 2014

By TP Magnus Ulzen

Ghana is the land of over 20 million unpaid football coaches and I confess, periodically I am one of them.

I have followed the Black Stars through the highs and lows of our football history since I was old enough to read the Daily Graphic and long before we had the benefit of television. Like many, I followed our team on radio, guided by the late Festus Addae and later, Joe Lartey.
What I can say of the Black Stars of old, who own our four continental titles, is that they had a winning attitude. They represented a republic that was unapologetically confident at that time in its history. They had a healthy respect for their opponents but entered every tournament to win.
Unfortunately, the first time Ghana qualified to play for the Jules Remit trophy in 1966 the Black Stars of old did not field a team because of the boycott of FIFA by Africa. This was because all of Africa played for 1 berth and then would have to play the highest ranked European loser. Today we have 5 spots against Europe’s 13, which still makes no sense.

The soccer dreams of three generations of Ghanaians have been rekindled steadily since our re-entry into the World Cup in 2006. (http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/SportsArchive/artikel.php?ID=105899) Read the rest of this entry »

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